There's no taming this Beast
Beast - Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons (Hound Gawd)
There’s more fuzz on this than a box of rotting fruit in a share house kitchen. Two guitars, drums, no bass, simple punk rock songs and Puss Johnson’s tuneful, yet in-your-face, vocal is a monstrously good combination.
“Beast” is 12 songs by a UK band with a venomous sound on a German label. Who says Brexit is a thing?
The back story is that guitarist Dirty Jake formed the band in 2002 but it took eight years to find Puss Johnson’s vocal and a more or less settled line-up. Two years later, their bass player was given the flick and The Dirty Johnsons continued as a trio. So they pre-date Amyl and The Sniffers - who are an obvious comparator - by a fair stretch.
Here’s nothing flash about “Beast”, the band’s fourth long-player, and that’s perfectly fine. Co-producer Wayne Adams captured the songs to hard drive in his East London Bear Bites Horse Studio and his and the band's combined efforts have produced a big yet raw rock sound.
The sound would be nothing if Pussycat and The Dirty Johnsons lacked songs - which they don’t. There’s a dash of Lydon's sneer in Puss’s declaratory vocal in “Shit”, a fuck you to fakes everywhere. “Doin’ It” is a cocky exercise in defiance. Don’t tell the Dirty Johnsons what to do or you can guess the rest.
“Not Your Baby” sounds like Texas Terri with an English accent. “Stale” could have been a Riot Grrrl anthem if it had been blasted over US college radio in the ‘90s. There’s more than a whiff of old style Pommy pub rock in the blues affectations of “Knee Jerk” crossed with a healthy dose of Cramps excess.
At 5min28sec “Beast Will Out” is an opus by comparison to the rest of the songs and takes on th sound of a punk rock Sabbath with its heavy-riffing, extended, howling at the moon outro.
The slowly building “Hey Honey” winds things back, sonically speaking, to show a band not stuck in any single stylistic rut and borrows from the Velvet Underground, of all people. There are worse reference points.